Home Improvements

Sometimes it pays just not to have a plan for the day…

So, I thought John was the best person for this issue and he agreed to have a go at posting on my blog today…  Here’s what he’s been doing:

I try not to have any fixed plans for my day, as whenever I do, something always happens to scupper them.  That’s not to say that I have no idea what I am going to do when I wake up in the morning, just a vague notion of what I might get done if the universe doesn’t get in the way.  I feel that if my preparations become too concrete, the world picks up on this and throws a spanner in there – so I try to keep things sort of just in the corner of my mind’s eye, if you get my drift.

Anyway, there are two examples of this from the last three days.  Firstly, after making detailed plans to spend Saturday helping Jason weld up his car exhaust and replacing the throttle cable on Berni’s car, we get a last-minute booking for the B&B and we have no rooms even slightly ready…  and I mean still-full-of-decorating-crap not ready.  Cue the last-minute booking panic procedure!  As it turned out we still also managed to fix the cars, but it wasn’t at quite the leisurely pace I had envisaged.

Today I had big plans to make a massive dent in the remains of the afore-mentioned decorating, until that was, I heard what sounded like a truck crashing into a massive metal tank from outside the back door.  I couldn’t see anything that might have caused this, so put it down to the military messing around on the range again and carried on with my morning chores (albeit with a small section of my brain still trying to work out what that sound could have been).  A little later there was a strange whooshing noise from outside which once again I could not identify.

Stepping through the back door I was assailed with the stench of gas and immediately looked towards our propane gas tank.  The cover seemed to be missing and there was a fountain of liquid propane squirting out of the pressure relief valve.  Eeeek!  Straight onto the emergency hotline and a technician was despatched – in the interim I was advised not to strike any matches, flick any switches or create a spark by any other means.

Once my saviour arrived it became evident that the last gas delivery man had over-filled the tank and the 10 degree increase in temperature since that delivery, along with the fact that the sun was shining, had caused the liquid to boil and the gas pressure to increase until the valve let rip to release the otherwise very dangerous pressure.  This was something that just didn’t happen in winter he had great joy in telling me.

After he vented a large amount of liquid into the air the pressure dropped sufficiently for just gas to be escaping, so that he was able to set light to it and flare off the excess.  It turns out that this excess is at least 150 litres and it will take several hours to reduce the pressure to safe levels.  As I am writing this, the sun is setting and the massive flame is starting to look quite pretty – shame about the horrible roaring sound that goes with it.

So, after two hours or so the gas pressure has been normalised and the tank and all connected systems have been checked for safety.  Life may now go on as before, except without any firm plans!

Here are some short video clips that give a better idea of what was experienced today:

Venting the excess liquid

Burning off the gas

Better as it got dark!

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